Brothers and sisters, we ought to be confident that God not only sets the plumb line of Women’s Ordination as a test but also he has provided the deliverance which he promises us by saying ‘My yoke is easy and my burden is light (Matt 11:30)’ and ‘No testing has overtaken you that is not common to everyone. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tested beyond your strength, but with the testing he will also provide the way out so that you may be able to endure it (1 Cor 10:13)’.
Then, where is the ‘way out’? Where is the deliverance? Jesus Christ our Lord! He is the way out, he is the deliverance for this frustrated test. He sets a model for us to follow: not follow his mighty nature like walking on the sea to call for a consensus over the issue, but follow his very human nature of being hung onto the Cross to suffer!
To suffer, means we are true disciples of Jesus; means we are really dead towards our own dignity; means we do not compromise our identity with the secular or religious value; means we rely on God’s strength and wisdom over our weakness and shortage; means we will get richly rewarded by his promise– ‘You let people ride over our heads; we went through fire and through water; yet you have brought us out to a spacious place’ (Ps 66:12).
Thence, lift up your eyes on the Lord and carry your cross to suffer. Forget your stand, your understanding of doctrines, your version of the Bible verses, even your conscience, for they are worthless if they prevent you to suffer like Jesus, to be patient like Jesus, and to endure like Jesus.
What God truly exams in this test of women’s ordination is whether each of us has a pure and honest heart in front of this plumb line. ‘So whatever you believe about these things (e.g. women’s ordination) keep between yourself and God. Blessed is the one who does not condemn himself by what he approves’ (Rom 14:22). To seek a consensus over women ordination is nothing more than chasing wind, because it is not the ultimate answer God expects from us! God wants more than that, he wants a Christ-like life of each of us, the God’s children, in the LCA and all over the world.
What else can we do, then, if not to choose to suffer? The answer is nothing but God’s judgement – not only at the end of the world but also right now in our daily life. The judgement of our pride, the judgement of our self-centred and self-righteousness, the judgement of our party spirit if any, the judgement of our mistaken zeal, the judgement of our laziness of not willing to leave our comfort zone of fleshly perception, the judgement of our lack of mercy, love, patient and humble.
A Lenten hymn might help us to ignite a deeper reflection– ‘Were you there when they crucified my Lord?’ Let’s mute our mouth, let God be God, let’s be God’s innocent children. Blessed are those who stand firm in the unity of synod and rather to suffer for the Lord’s church: LCA– the apple of God’s eye.